Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab

Radon

  • Dirk Taeger
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_4927-3

Synonyms

Definition

Radon (Rn) is a chemically inert gas with atomic number 86 in the periodic table. The most stable isotope is radon-222 from the decay series of uranium-238. The half-life of radon-222 is 3.8 days. The short-lived daughter products of the noble gas radon are itself radioactive isotopes of the elements polonium, lead, bismuth, and thallium. Rn is an alpha-particle emitter. The decay products generate alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma-rays.

Characteristics

Occurrence

Radon is ubiquitous but of relative low abundance, because of the distribution of its uranium precursor in the Earth’s crust. The concentration of radon and its decay products depends on the geological situation. In certain areas, the radon exposition is naturally high, especially in mountainous regions with some granitic soils or shales. As a decay product of uranium, the gaseous radon then seeps out of the rocks into the environment....

Keywords

Radon Concentration Lung Cancer Risk Excess Relative Risk Radon Level Radon Exposure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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References

  1. Darby S, Hill D, Deo H et al (2006) Residential radon and lung cancer-detailed results of a collaborative analysis of individual data on 7,148 persons with lung cancer and 14,208 persons without lung cancer from 13 epidemiologic studies in Europe. Scand J Work Environ Health 32(Suppl 1):1–83PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (2001) Ionizing radiation, part 2: some internally deposited radionuclides, vol 78, IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. IARC, LyonGoogle Scholar
  3. Lubin JH, Boice JD, Edling C et al (1994) Radon and lung cancer risk: a joint analysis of 11 underground studies, National Institutes of Health Publication No. 94–3644. National Institutes of Health, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  4. National Research Council (1999) Committee on the health risks of exposure to radon (BEIR VI). National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  5. Taeger D, Fritsch A, Wiethege T et al (2006) Role of exposure to radon and silicosis on the cell type of lung carcinoma in German uranium miners. Cancer 106:881–889CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance (IPA)Ruhr-University BochumBochumGermany